Tuesday, April 23, 2024

MASKS: Here’s your proof

| August 30, 2020 1:00 AM

Despite the recent letter by Anne Stinnett that claimed there is no scientific evidence that masks work, so that it is irrational to wear them, there are several studies supporting the efficacy of masks. A study of people who had influenza or the common cold found that wearing a surgical mask significantly reduced the amount of these respiratory viruses emitted in droplets and aerosols. But the strongest evidence in favor of masks comes from studies of real-world scenarios.

A recent study found that mask mandates led to a slowdown in daily COVID-19 growth rate, which became more apparent over time; at three weeks, the daily growth rate had slowed by 2 percentage points. Another study looked at coronavirus deaths across 198 countries and found that those with government policies favoring mask-wearing had lower death rates.

(These recommendations come from dozens of studies done in many countries, and published in medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine.)

This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice. Many more studies can be researched that show similar results.